I’m the first to admit that up to this point, we have done a lousy job of teaching our children about the Advent season. We do try to talk about the season being all about Jesus and his birth and what that means for us, but we haven’t done anything tangible in the past (except one year using an advent calendar with chocolates inside). And I want to be intentional about teaching our children about our faith.
However, I went to a workshop at our church a couple of weeks ago, where two moms who are passionate about celebrating Advent presented the ideas they’ve used throughout the years with their kids. I came away with so many plans! They gave lots of examples of ways to tie in Scripture, and I’ll include links below. They each use an Advent calendar like this with little pockets in it, so that they can tuck their thought or riddle for the day in the pocket. I am desperately in love with this one from Pottery Barn Kids but AREYOUKIDDINGME? $70??! Will have to shop ebay in the summer for a better deal and get one for next year!
I had to scale back from all of the ideas they gave to make a plan that will work for us. For one, I want to start small…we can build on this in the future. And two, we already have a schedule that seems kinda busy, so I was hesitant to add TOO many things. We won’t be doing something every day, and some days we’ll do something really small, and others we’ll have an activity of some sort.
Here’s what my plan includes. Feel free to use ideas from this list or adapt them to fit your family! As you’ll see, some are faith-based and others are just fun activities to help us wait until Christmas day! Obviously, some of these are kind of corny or a little of a stretch, but remember that they’re for little kids who will think all of this is pretty cool, and hopefully walk away with a tangible reminder of what the season is all about!
*plant paperwhites (I got the $6 Target kit), which should bloom near Christmas. Talk about how we’ll have to wait patiently for them to bloom, just like we have to wait for Jesus’ birth. References to waiting here and here.
*there are TONS of references to Jesus being the light of the world; I’m going to choose two (here’s one), and use them on separate days. One day we’ll eat by candlelight (which could get interesting), and another day I’ll give them a new nightlight (which I’d planned on buying anyway for them next year, when we do their room in Cardinals stuff!). You could also give the kids little flashlights for this topic.
*get some Lifesavers candy (my kids like the gummy ones). Talk about how Jesus came to save our lives. Tons of references to Savior, obviously.
*we’re going to build one of those kit gingerbread houses; might do a “wise man built his house upon the rock” tie-in, since the kids know that song, too.
*outreach – we donate toys and food around the holidays a lot, so we’ll continue to do that, but we’re also going to have our activity one day the first week be to send Jeremy, our Compassion child, a little package. You can only send things that are flat and fit in an envelope through Compassion, so I’ve picked up a few packages of stickers from the Christian bookstore (he last time drew us a picture of Jesus after he rose from the dead, with a cross in the picture, too, so I think he’ll love these) and a little prayer card. I’ll have the boys write to him, too, or draw pictures.
*driving around looking at Christmas lights (we pack up chex mix and maybe some hot chocolate this year, too, and drive around with the kids in their pjs…it’s one of their favorite parts of Christmas, and it always was for me, too)
*taking in Wild Lights at the zoo, which we’ve never done but always wanted to. I’m hoping because I’ve actually scheduled it that it will happen this year.
*Luke’s birthday dinner.
I’m going to try to locate a cheap and not-ugly Advent wreath of some sort over the next week for us to use as well.
Christmas Eve will look a lot like last year, and then Christmas Day we’ll do chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast – my donuts last year didn’t turn out well because I’m not patient letting the oil heat up.
I can’t wait to get started on this next Sunday! I’d love to hear about what you do celebrate Advent with your family, or what you think you’ll try from this list!